It’s not a wedding or a bar mitzvah, but I got to the office this morning kicking my heels up, throwing my hands up and head back to shout!
The Washington Post recently published a ranking of the most challenging high schools in the country. Arizona boasts four high schools in the top 10, with three in the top five and 21 overall. The schools- BASIS Oro Valley (#1), BASIS Chandler (#2), Accelerated Elementary and Secondary (#5), and BASIS Tucson North (# 6)- were ranked on the number of college-level tests taken divided by the number graduates.
This most recent national ranking was designed to identify schools that have done the best job in persuading average students to take college-level courses and tests. Research tells us these are some of the best indicators of a student’s ability to succeed in a post-secondary environment.
Another Arizona high school, BASIS Scottsdale, was included on a separate list of top performing schools with elite students. All of this in the wake of last year’s report that that three Arizona high schools made the U.S. News and World Report’s list of the top 10 high schools in the country and it’s enough to make me want to sing!
You’d need an ink factory and half the rainforest to print all of the gloom-and-doom rhetoric about Arizona’s K-12 system. And certainly, there are systemic improvements and reforms that will help ensure every child has access to a quality school. But this rhetoric doesn’t reflect reality, and we’re our own worst enemies when we spend our time and energy on what is broken in the system instead of highlighting and replicating what is working.
Arizona is home to schools and systems that consistently receive national recognition for their ability to prepare every student for the next level. With high expectations and no-excuses environments, these schools are ensuring kids graduate with the skills they need to be successful in college, careers and life.
So I’m going to jump up and shout it from the rooftops: Arizona has amazing schools! Won’t you join me?